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Europe not ready to ban HCFC gas says study

09 July 2008

Eight years after introduction of legislation, and with only 17 months left before ban, 65 percent of cooling installations still use HCFC gases, according to a report by DuPont.

The results of a new study* sponsored by refrigerants manufacturer,DuPont, show that 65 percent of cooling installations in nine key EU markets* continue to function on HCFC refrigerant gases, raising questions about the level of preparedness in the market for the EU ban on virgin** HCFCs. The ban, based on EU legislation introduced in 2000 following on from the Montreal Protocol, will be introduced from January 2010.

Spanning across industry sectors representing the largest users of refrigerants, the survey’s respondents use various types of cooling installations, all of which still contain significant banks of HCFCs. Air conditioning installations are the biggest remaining users of HCFCs – 76 per cent still run on these gases. Although awareness levels of the legislation are high – 90 percent of respondents claimed to be aware of the impending ban – the large banks of HCFCs that remain suggest that this has not been coupled with a sense of urgency to ensure compliance; of those who have not yet taken action, 17 percent claim to have no
intention to do so.

With an estimated 130,000 tons of HCFC gases still in use throughout several million installations across the EU, primarily in the form of R22, tens of thousands of these installations will need to be serviced every week in order to ensure compliance by 2010. For companies that are reliant on refrigeration, delayed action – or inaction - can pose a threat to business. The large number of remaining HCFC banks means that as more and more businesses begin to react to the legislative imperatives in the run-up to 2010, there
will be a significant strain on contractor services. Furthermore, manufacturers are expected to scale down their production of HCFCs from mid-2009. These twin factors threaten to create a bottleneck, incurring costs for businesses that delay their response.

A number of HCFC users intend to wait for the ban on recycled HCFCs to be introduced in 2015, in the belief that there will be a sufficient supply of reclaimed R22. However, given the high cost of the recycling process, current projections place the availability of recycled R22 at only 15 percent of the amount needed to service remaining installations using HCFCs.

DuPont is conducting an informational campaign on the EU ban on HCFCs to help users understand its implications and the options that are available to them. DuPont has also developed its own solution for cost-effective retrofit of installations in the form of ISCEON® HFC Refrigerants. Further information on the campaign initiative is available at the website www.wakeup2phaseout.eu.

* Based on a cross-industry study in nine key EU markets (UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany,
Belgium, The Netherlands and Poland) between April and June 2008.
** Virgin hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) can be defined as those that have never previously been placed
on the market.


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